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Jakarta Post

Foreign Ministry to establish bilateral affairs unit for ASEAN countries

  • Tama Salim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, April 3, 2017   /   04:04 pm
Foreign Ministry to establish bilateral affairs unit for ASEAN countries Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi (JP/P.J.LEO)

In its ongoing effort to improve the handling of various diplomatic relations in the region, the Foreign Ministry is looking to introduce a dedicated directorate for Southeast Asian affairs, ministry officials have revealed.

The new unit, which will be headed by an echelon level II official, will take on the responsibility of maintaining bilateral relations for the 10 ASEAN member states, as well as Timor Leste, Palau and the Marshall Islands, said Desra Percaya, the ministry's director general for Asian and African affairs.

Desra said the establishment of the new directorate would help ease the workload of the existing East Asian and Pacific affairs directorate headed by Edi Yusup.

Separately, Edi said the current directorate would have a narrower scope of countries to deal with, albeit encompassing countries as large as China or Australia but also as small as Fiji or the Solomon Islands.

"[The new Southeast Asian affairs directorate] was established back in January," he said.

The ministry is currently holding an open recruitment for the new directorate that will most likely conclude on April 12.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi reiterated during her annual press statement in January Indonesia's continued focus on Southeast Asia as the cornerstone of its foreign policy stance.

Besides having the largest economy and population in the region, Indonesia is often regarded as its de facto leader, playing a role of significant strategic importance in maintaining peace and stability. (ipa)